Only Connect (1)



Arabella Weir


BBC Radio 4, 1998 (6 programmes)


Only Radio 4 could come up with a comedy panel game whose title comes from the epigraph to E. M. Forster's 1910 novel Howards End.

This show - game is too strong a word for it - invited three comedians to make a series of lateral leaps to link the first item with the last. Quite often the intended 'answer' was not given so we were left in the dark about who won a lot of the time.

The programme was part of a series of unpopular changes by the then controller of Radio 4, James Boyle, who greatly increased the number of panel games on the station in lunchtime and teatime slots. Of these, only Puzzle Panel and X Marks the Spot survived with dignity. This idea, like many of the others commissioned at the time, was much panned by listeners and got shunted back from 6.30pm to 11pm after just one episode.

A more quizzy version of the same idea, with an identical title, was aired on BBC Four in 2008.


Nigel Crowle

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